Basehor Students enrolled in the building trades class at Basehor-Linwood High School give new meaning to "homework."
The class meets for three hours every weekday morning in Basehor's Hickory Pointe subdivision, where they're building a 1,300-square-foot ranch-style home.
This is the fourth year that Mark Mishler, an industrial arts teacher, has taught the hands-on class. The first year, students constructed a large storage building in Linwood, but the three most reccent classes each have built a house.
Mishler said the Basehor-Linwood school board buys a site over the summer and hires a local contractor to pour the foundation. When students return to school in the fall, they can get to work on construction. After students complete the yearlong project, the board takes responsibility for selling it. Last year's house, a 1,200-square-foot raised ranch, sold for $72,000, Mishler said. The money was used to finance this year's project.
"WE DO ALL the framing, plumbing, wiring, drywall, insulation, painting and roofing," he said. "If we have time, we'll lay the sod, too. So basically, it's from the beginning to end."
This year's class of 13 boys has constructed the house's exterior and is working on hanging drywall. Although most have previous industrial arts experience, some are learning on the job, Mishler said.
The class isn't all measuring, sawing and hammering, however. Mishler lectures on safety and general construction information. The students later are tested over lecture material.
"The idea of the class is they're gaining some life experience," he said. "Someday, they might buy a house and they're going to know how it's put together."
The skills they learn in the building trades class could come in handy for both students planning to enter the work force after high school and those who are college-bound, Mishler said. Several students from past classes currently work for contractors to pay for college, and one boy in this year's class has expressed an interest in studying engineering.
"I HOPE TO see some of them getting out and into the business of being a contractor," Mishler said. "I want the kids to come back and tell me, `We used what we learned.'"
Students in his class also learn a stronger sense of responsibility and a sense of pride in their accomplishments.
"They have to be responsible for what they do," Mishler said, adding that the absentee rate in the class is comparitively low and many students who often struggle in school excel in building trades.
"We've gotten a lot of compliments on both the houses we've done," he said. "They do a very good job."